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23 Cardozo L. Rev. 1145 (2001-2002)
The Proslavery Origins of the Electoral College

handle is hein.journals/cdozo23 and id is 1167 raw text is: THE PROSLAVERY ORIGINS OF THE
ELECTORAL COLLEGE
Paul Finkelman*
INTRODUCTION
How did the United States come up with such a crazy way to
elect a president? The electoral college system seems to make no
sense.     It   is  quite   undemocratic.       The    tiny   states   have
proportionally more power then the larger states. In addition, the
winner-take-all process makes voting seem meaningless in many
states.' As the 2000 election demonstrated, having more popular
votes than your opponent does not guarantee that the candidate
will win the election. This only reconfirmed what the nation
learned in 1824,2 1888,1 1876,4 and probably 1800.1
* Chapman Distinguished Professor, University of Tulsa College of Law. B.A.,
Syracuse, 1971; M.A. and Ph.D., Univ. of Chicago, 1972, 1976.
1 In 2000 Oklahoma's electoral votes went to George W. Bush by a huge margin, and
everyone in the state knew this would happen. See CNN, Election 2000 Results for
Oklahoma, at http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2000/results/OK/frameset.exclude.html
(last visited Apr. 16, 2002) (reporting that in Oklahoma, Bush received 744,355 votes (60
percent), while Gore received just 474,326 (38 percent)). Voting for Gore was simply an
exercise in futility. Similarly, voting for Bush in Massachusetts was a preordained wasted
effort. See CNN, Election 2000 Results for Massachusetts, at http://www.cnn.com/
ELECTION/2000/results/MA/frameset.exclude.html (last visited Apr. 16, 2002) (reporting
that in Massachusetts, Gore received 1,610,175 votes (60 percent), while Bush received
just 876,906 votes (33 percent)).
2 Andrew Jackson won 153,544 popular votes to John Quincy Adams' 108,740 votes.
William Crawford ran third with 47,136 and Henry Clay ran fourth, with 46,618 votes.
Jackson won ninety-nine electoral votes, Adams eighty-four, Crawford forty-one, and
Clay thirty-seven.  2 JAMES T. HAVEL, U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES AND
ELECTIONS: A BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL GUIDE 12 (1996). With no electoral
majority, the contest went to the House, where each state cast a single vote. Clay, who
was no longer in contention for the presidency, used his considerable political skills to
secure the election in the House for Adams.
3 Grover Cleveland won 5,540,309 popular votes while Benjamin Harrison won
5,444,337. Some 400,000 votes went to various third party candidates. However, Harrison
had the majority of the electoral votes. Id. at 64.
4 Massive voter fraud and the intimidation of black voters in the South, make it
impossible to know who had the popular majority, or who would have had it, if the

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